Now the mysterious briefcase can save his prime ministerial

Wherever you see Boris Johnson, you also see the “red box”: a red bag he holds as if it could save his life. It’s likely to happen these days too, because in the countless chapter of Partygate, the “red box” plays a crucial role. What does the mysterious red bag mean to the British Prime Minister?

Sabine Vermeeren

The new episode in Partygate is about a party on November 13, 2020 at 10 Downing Street, the UK at the time was in a second lockdown and indoor parties were banned. Previous photos had already shown that Johnson didn’t always take it too closely for himself, but this week a new reveal came to head the party on November 13. The photos show the smiling Prime Minister raising a cup. On the table in front of him are snacks, drinks and leftovers of Indian food. Besides Johnson, there are eight other people. If you look closely, you will also see a red bag on a chair. This seems normal, but it is not. Moreover, Johnson’s skin can be saved in this story.

Every Briton knows the “red box”: it belongs to Boris Johnson, like his strange haircut. At work, on foreign missions, when the prime minister comes home in the evening: he is always with him. It was no different from his predecessors – Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major, etc. The “red boxes” have belonged to prime ministers since 1860. They are briefcases in which they keep important government papers. There are different things every day. The Queen and British ministers are also one.

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The Red Box originated in 1860 and was made by Barrow, Hepburn & Gale, a British manufacturer of luxury leather goods. The first copy was intended for then Prime Minister William Gladstone, and all Prime Ministers after him have continued to use it. It has also retained the same function through the centuries: important documents are placed in the “red box” that the prime minister has not yet seen. Or where he still has to put his signature. Just the most important of the most important thing in it. That’s why it goes with you everywhere.

AFP photo

More than 160 years after the first “red box,” the manufacturer is still Barrow, Hepburn & Gale. According to the rules of art, each “red box” is made of wood. It has leather upholstery and everything inside is made of silk. It takes about three days to make one and in 2010 I paid a thousand euros for it. From the outside, it is given a kind of initials, by which you can get acquainted with the ruling monarch, and inside the name and function of the owner is provided. This makes all the pieces of the “Red Boxes” unique: Margaret Thatcher was sold at Christie’s auction in 2015 for 285,000 euros and a piece of Winston Churchill in 2014 by Sotheby’s for 186 thousand euros.

The fact that the “red box” is also present in the new party photos is useful for Boris Johnson. He had previously stated in Parliament that he had no intention of attending closed parties. The latest reveal has put him – again – in tight shoes, but the “red box” could argue in his favour. There are voices in the British press that Boris Johnson may not have really known about the party and the bag supports this statement: He was on his way home when he saw in the press room that the staff were having a drink. They gave him a glass, and he put his bag on a chair and made a toast. It remains to be seen whether this defense will keep Johnson afloat. New details may leak out today, and the prime minister is also preparing apologies.

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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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